New rail strike as fares rise

RMT striking outside Wigan Wallgate station earlier this year
RMT striking outside Wigan Wallgate station earlier this year

Train passengers in Wigan will face a further day of strike action - and another hike in fares - as a safety row between a union and rail operators rumbles on.

The RMT said its members will once again down tools on Tuesday May 30 in its dispute with Arriva Rail North over retaining guards on trains.

The union has stepped up its campaign in the region after it emerged that passengers on Northern trains will face fare rises from this Sunday at the same time as the operator refuses to rule out plans for driver-only services.

The ongoing dispute, which has already seen travellers in the borough face a number of one-day strikes this year, shows no sign of relenting.

The union has accused the company of putting profit before people while Northern urged the RMT to get back around the negotiating table.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This weekend’s latest fares rip-off is just another example of industry costs being shifted to the passenger, whilst the profits made continue to be leaked away from Britain’s railways and shipped across the Channel.

“Northern should be forced to pull back from their twin strategy of axing guards and raising fares in the dash to fatten up the profits for the German state operator Arriva. This is a scandalous situation that puts the issue of public ownership of our railways right at the top of the agenda. The sheer intransigence of Arriva Rail North means that we have no option but to confirm a further 24 hours of strike action. The responsibility for the inevitable disruption lies wholly with the company.

“The public, who support RMT’s campaign for a guarantee of a guard on their trains, will be appalled that Arriva Rail North have failed yet again to offer any kind of progress whatsoever in the talks and have instead opted to try and bulldoze through their plans regardless. It is that flagrant disregard for the safety issues at the heart of the dispute which leaves us with no option but to press on with the campaign of strike action.”